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Poster: steam locomotive Date: Mar 29, 2012 2:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

In a non-patronizing way, if possible.

Why does it feature comparatively shorter jamming? Sitting between '70 and '72, it always seems like a comparatively slight year. I get that they lost Mickey (resulting in three of my favorite years), but why did they briefly decide to become a bar band?

There are a few shows from the year that I love (2/18, 8/6, the Halloween show), but on the whole I kinda don't get it. What am I missing?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 29, 2012 7:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

A few reasons - like others have said -

Mickey's departure probably left them shaken up for a while (as Phil says in his book), and may have led to them taking out a couple of the familiar 1970 jam-tunes like Dancing or Easy Wind. (Or, they were just tired of those.)

On top of that, some of the older jams were already getting phased out. Viola Lee was already history; Caution was rare and 3/18/71 was the last version for a year; Not Fade Away was pared down after GDTRFB got introduced. Dark Star, it's hard to say just how common it was in late 1970, but definitely not nearly as frequent as it had been.
I get the feeling they were much more excited with the Other One than with Dark Star in early '71, since they were able to take the Other One in new, more varied directions. (Though the Cryptical reprise was already pretty much done with, except for a few versions, since Garcia's enthusiasm for it had waned considerably in 1970.)

They may have felt that the jams they had were getting stagnant. Dark Star had exactly the same format in almost all 1970 versions, and it's telling that in '71 they kind of break it down & rebuild it.

Then there's the simple fact that they hadn't written any new jam-songs, just short regular songs - LOTS of short songs - that weren't meant to be 'taken out.' (Notice that they even dropped Bird Song and Morning Dew in fall '71, who knows why.)
They wouldn't really come up with new jam material until '73. In the meantime, what they mainly had were Pigpen's songs - Hard to Handle, Good Lovin', Lovelight - and without him, well, there was the Other One and not much else!
Keith's arrival in fall '71, of course, was a boon for the jams, and I think he has a lot to do with their stretching out the jams more in 1972. It's not that they had new jam material, just that the Truckin's, Other Ones & Playings got a lot longer!

Becoming more song-focused also coincided with the recording of a live album. This has an interesting parallel with 1980. In '79 they were stretching out lots of long jams; but in 1980 we generally get very concise shows & not much exploration, and also another live album.
Weir said they intentionally tried to get more concise in 1980 - to get to the same spots more quickly - and possibly, seeing their audience growing in '71, they had the same idea.
They were probably also digging being a more straightforward dance band. Garcia sounded pretty keen about it when interviewed - "this is really us, man" - and Phil, who you'd think might get bored, sounds mighty exuberant on the tapes.

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Poster: stratocaster Date: Mar 29, 2012 2:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

simply becuase they had exhausted the jamming suites that were so common in 68-70 (i.e. Dark Star> St. Stephen> The 11> Cryptical...the instead you had these compositions broken out and performed singularly or in other combinations...new songs were introduced in February that were songs and not jams, i.e. Deal, Sugaree, Greatest Story, Bird Song, Loser...however by October, the introduction of Keith Godchaux allowed them to get back into the big jams as shows like 12-5 and 12-14 would attest...this bar band term is pretty silly, even if it was coined by the band themselves...I love 1971, very under-rated...by 72 they had developed a different song altogether and the big jams were back, only much different than the swirling psychadelic San Fran hippy jams of the late 60s...more jazzy in some regards, deeper sounds for sure

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Poster: OakTreeTavern Date: Mar 29, 2012 2:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

Not sure if the sound is all related to the chemicals but, by 71 most of the original acid was gone. It was a time of varied quality and mis-identified barrels. Windows and blotter was becoming more common and production may have overcome QC standards. Plant based materials were also coming to the fore and that may have caused some directional changes.

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Poster: cvenez Date: Mar 29, 2012 4:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

Yes, what stratocaster said. I don't recall where (maybe Searching for the Sound), but I remember reading something where Phil said when the GD started out, their songs were all "middles" with no beginnings or endings. In other words, jams. With Working Man's and American Beauty, their song writing really improved by leaps and bounds and they finally had full-blown songs. Their shows reflected this in that they dropped the big jams that preceded in the '60s.

I, for one, am glad that '71 was the transition year it was for the band and agree that it is underrated. Even though the massive jams are gone, the individual songs are tight, rocking, and often relentlessly powerful. It's this time period that gave me an appreciation for the cowboy songs and just how well played they were back then (most of which I can't stand after '74 generally). By focusing more on tighter playing in '71, the GD were able to become the incredible musicians they were soon thereafter, particularly from '72-74. Give a listen to almost any of the One More Saturday Nights from '71 for an example of how they used to blow the doors off what many would later consider a "throwaway" tune.

This post was modified by cvenez on 2012-03-29 23:00:07

This post was modified by cvenez on 2012-03-29 23:01:10

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Mar 29, 2012 5:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

spend some quality time with this . . .

http://archive.org/details/gd1971-07-02.sbd.clevenger.lai.fix-128.6193.sbefail.shnf

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Poster: Reade Date: Mar 29, 2012 3:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

One word: Personnel.
Nothing changed the Dead's sound from time to time like tweaks to the starting lineup.
Mickey leaves in Feb. of '71. Pig is in and out fo the lineup throughout '71. Keith starts rehearsing with them in September of that year.

Jerry once famously said (in '71) that Dark Star performances consisted of 'structral poles which we occasionally do away with.' To me those changes coincided with personnel changes.
The Dark Star of '70 is unlike that of '71, which is unlike '72. Lots of coming and going in those years.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 29, 2012 4:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

here you go. what is missing? It's all there ten fold

http://archive.org/details/gd71-11-07.prefm.kaplan.9570.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: drspark61 Date: Mar 29, 2012 8:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

There was something about the sound of the Dead's soundboard tapes in 1971 -- especially Phil's tone and place in the mix. It's the Dead sound I fell in love with from their live double LP. It changed pretty drastically the next year.

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Poster: steam locomotive Date: Mar 30, 2012 8:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

Thanks to everyone who responded for the explanations and recommendations. Just listened to 8/6/71 again and I hear the tightness on the shorter songs. 1973 is probably my favorite year, which means I may overlook the short, sweet stuff for cosmic jams.

I also have a lot of love for 10/31/71 aka DP2. That Dark Star is just liquid, and has the best Tighten Up I've ever heard. And it's the only time I ever heard them rev up again after GDTRFB, instead of just reentering NFA from a dead stop. Beautiful stuff.

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Poster: Death&Mercy Date: Mar 29, 2012 4:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

The jamming on Dick's Picks 2 is among the best in the band's history. You could make a case that the NFA > GDTRFB from 11/15 features THE best jamming in the band's history. And some of those TOO > Uncles > TOOs get rolling pretty good. And H2H? Ever heard the H2H from 3/24? There's a lot more good stuff in the fall, but you have to poke around a bit. Not a jam year, per se, but it's there if you look.

And the "bar band" stuff is some of my favorite Dead. The UJBs, Brokedowns, Berthas, BIODTLs, Wharf Rats, Big RRs, Cumberlands, even Me and Bob Mcgee ... love all that stuff. It's no '72, but I really like 1971.

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Poster: portmcgroin Date: Mar 29, 2012 10:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

Guitar twang, Space travel to wild west to space travel, Tight in up, 4-28-71, Pigpen, Enter Keith, Hard to Handle,How do they do that, Evolve, Bill can Play some drums, bravo need to listen to more 71.

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Mar 29, 2012 6:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

you're missing the fall of 1971. Check out october through december. Some pretty excellent stuff.

12-01 has one of my all time favorite TOO MAMU TOO's. With a quite rockin NFA GDTRFB NFA to follow

10-24, killer china rider and dark star

10-29 has a killer TOO MAMU TOO.

Then of course there is 10-31 which is on DP 2.

Surprisingly, 71 is one of my favorite years, some of the shorter songs dont do it for me like they do in 72, but in general the long jams get better as the year goes on and they can be pretty awesome.

Cant forget some excellent hard to handles (8-6 and 8-7).

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Mar 29, 2012 2:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

There was definitely less jamming. I don't know why.

BUT the reason '71 is so great, to me at least, is that the jamming that they DID do is really, really intense; more focused than in '72 I think, and certainly far more clean than '70.

Check out the NFA/GDTRFB from road trips 3.2. Or the Dark Star from 10/31/71. Or ANY version of the other one played during this period.

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Mar 29, 2012 6:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

Im gonna have to disagree on 71 having more focused jams than 72. 72 has jams that go farther and have more direction, i think their solid jazz vibe was locked in by summer 72 and gave some of the best toos playins and dark stars ever. I personally have felt that in general the 71 jams (more so early in the year) lack direction while having some nice intense moments and locked in grooves sporadically throughout.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Mar 29, 2012 8:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

I agree with that, I guess focused was the wrong word. I really meant "concise."

I like what LiA said (maybe others said it too) about the fact that they had a whole bunch of new songs that weren't conducive to more than a solo or two.

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Mar 29, 2012 2:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Searching for The Sound

I am currently reading Phil's Searching for the Sound and he seems to infer that they were enjoying being a "regular" band at that time. All the time and energy put into the two masterpiece albums from 1970 made them a tighter, leaner more song oriented machine for a while.

That and he said they were not dropping and playing on stage anymore...at least he wasn't. I really dug his description of the one show where he drank the rose water stew and got super blitzed, unexpectedly. The descriptions of his perceptions and feelings struck home for me big time.

Its an interesting read, I like reading his opinions on what was happening at the time. Too bad Jerry never got to write his version of the WALSTIB.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Mar 29, 2012 4:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Can somebody please explain '71 to me?

"There are a few shows from the year that I love (2/18, 8/6, the Halloween show), but on the whole I kinda don't get it. What am I missing? "

imo tone is a huge one. And a massive evolution in Weirs playing and only having Bill on drums. The evolution of being able to go to subtlety and tight arrangements over all out power assualts.

to me 71 is THE classic Dead sound. The NFA>GDTRFB and Wharf Rat from Skull and Roses is what truly brought me in to what the band was all about. 4-29-71 is in my top five of all time favorite shows.